Claret’s Pick of the Week: The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

The Lying Life of Adults

By Elena Ferrante

This story follows one girl as she navigates the complicated world of adolescence, insecurity, and attraction. At the beginning of the book our main character, Giovanna, is young and naive, her world consists of her parents and their apartment in northern Naples. When Giovanna overhears her father bitterly comparing her to his estranged sister, her self-esteem plummets and she is sent spiraling, desperate to meet the mysterious aunt her parents so clearly despise. When Giovanna finally does meet her aunt, her world is flipped on its head as she begins to see the hypocrisy of adults, the lies they tell, and the consequences those lies have.


I found this story to be wonderfully written and extremely emotionally intuitive, at the same time I found Giovanna to be a frustrating, moody, and self-centered narrator, providing a realistic representation of the teenage mind. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a story about family conflict, coming of age, and girlhood as a whole.

Collee’s pick of the week: I Who Have Never Known Men By Jacqueline Harpman

I Who Have Never Known Men
By Jacqueline Harpman

“This 1995 novel, first published in French, is a rather austere account of a woman’s life. From her girlhood locked in a prison cell with 39 women (with no knowledge of the outside world), to her eventual nomadic existence in a barren land above the subterranean holding cell where the story begins, answers do not abound here. I found myself not caring about explanations, though. This tale is about the journey- how we negotiate relationships in a community and how we live honestly. I loved the quietness of tone here and the mysteries that one is left to ponder on one’s own. Another speculative, dystopian novel that I’m glad didn’t get lost to the ages.”

Nat’s Pick of the Week: White Noise by Don Delillo

White Noise
By Don Delillo

In anticipation of the film adaptation on Netflix, I decided to reread White Noise by Don DeLillo. The National Book Award-winning postmodern novel was just as engrossing the second time. It tells the story of college professor Jack Gladney as his suburban family life is upended by an environmental disaster known as the “airborne toxic event.” DeLillo’s witty satire targets consumerism, academia, and the fear of death in a manner that is both hilarious and unsettling. The book’s atypical structure and bizarre dialogue make it somewhat divisive, but I would still highly recommend it to any fans of Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, and George Saunders, or anyone who enjoys darkly humorous examinations of American culture.

Alyssa’s Staff Pick of the Week: The Last To See Me by M. Dressler

The Last to See Me
M Dressler

“Dressler brings you into a world where ghost hunting is a relatively common and well-respected occupation. Towns and private citizens alike spend a great deal of money to ‘clean’ the spaces they inhabit of all unwanted spirits. It’s in this world that Emma Rose Finnis has been living as a ghost for over one hundred years, evading the pursuits of Cleaners, and haunting/living in a life that’s all her own and strangely borrowed. This is Emma Rose’s story of survival in a world seemingly determined to stamp her out, and the methods we teach ourselves to aid in that survival. Do you make yourself small or big, loud or quiet, adamant or passive, bold or invisible, in order to keep your place and hold your right to existence? And what if you choose wrong?

I’m excited to get to the second book and see how Emma Rose carries on.”


Sophie’s Staff Pick of the Week: A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga

A Rover’s Story
by Jasmine Warga

“The main character of this book is a Mars rover named Resilience (nickname Res).

On Earth, as he is built and downloads code to learn about his Mars mission, Res learns about human emotions and what it means to be alive from the “hazmats” (humans!) that work with him. While on Mars these emotions and relationships help Res on his mission.

Jasmine Warga gives voice to the curious rovers, chatty drones and efficient satellites that help humans explore space. It is a great book for those that find space exploration and artificial intelligence fascinating. Every page made me smile.”

My Picks

Heidi’s Pick of the Week: Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto By Tricia Hersey

Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto
By Tricia Hersey

How many times in your life have you felt burnt out? Fatigued? Frazzled? And yet, when you take any sort of break, are you left feeling ashamed and guilty for wasting time that you could have used to be productive?

Rest, Hersey explains, is about much more than literal sleep. It is about “beginning the messy process of deconstructing your own beliefs and behaviors that are aligned with white supremacy and capitalism… our lack of boundaries for ourselves and each other, the choices we make, and how we engage with ourselves and our community” all act in the service of the systems that drive us to exhaustion. To rest, you must examine how you harm yourself and others and make an effort to stop. Rest can look like napping on the couch, yes, but it can also look like not immediately responding to texts or emails. It can look like taking regular breaks from social media. It can look like laughing with your friends, staring out a window and daydreaming, or blasting music and dancing alone in your room. Rest comes in many forms.

Rest as a form of resistance is not something new and trendy, Hersey points out; rather, it is a continuation of liberation work that Black people have been practicing for generations in the face of anti-Black oppression and trauma. imaginative writings from authors like Octavia Butler, bell hooks, and Audre Lorde, Black people have continually found ways to resist the demand that they exhaust themselves in the service of capitalism and white supremacy. Capitalism and white supremacy are grinding us all into dust, regardless of our race or any other factor. These systems will not make space for you to rest because it is antithetical to how they function. Resisting these systems ultimately benefits everyone.

You are enough, this book says. Don’t believe the lie that your worth depends on what you produce; you do not have to prove yourself through constant doing. Let go of your guilt and your shame. You are worthy right now, right here. And you deserve to rest.

It’s Collee’s turn to give us her Pick of the Week, and after hearing what she has to say, we can’t wait to read for ourselves!

Big Swiss
By Jen Beagin

“Before Big Swiss was published, the manuscript was leaked and a 14-way bidding war for the movie rights erupted in Hollywood. It's no surprise. This book is a compulsive read, usually hysterical and occasionally strickening. The plot centers around Greta; a Gen X'er living in a hip small town working as a transcriber for a sex therapist. She becomes enthralled by a certain client, happens to meet her in real life and a torrid affair ensues. Beyond the sheer delight of this tale is a deeper message about trauma and having a future in the face of it. I loved the sanguine tone throughout and eventually... the mini donkeys.”

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Tonight at the bookstore, we are excited to be hosting a reading with debut novelist Shelley Read! Her book , Go As A River was published earlier this month to much fanfare, and the chance to support an author from our neck of the woods on the Colorado Plateau is one we love to jump at. Below is a bit about this beautiful novel:

“Shelley Read’s debut novel was inspired by true events surrounding the destruction of the town of Iola, Colorado in the 1960s. Go as a River is a story of deeply held love in the face of hardship and loss, but also of finding courage, resilience, friendship, and, finally, home—where least expected. This stunning debut explores what it means to lead your life as if it were a river—gathering and flowing, finding a way forward even when a river is dammed.”

See you at @backofbeyondbooks tonight, 7pm!

#backofbeyond #backofbeyondbooks #bobbstaffpick #debutnovelist #shelleyread #goasariver #iolacolorado #coloradoplateau #authorreading #authorsigning #eatreadsleeplocal
Poetry Open Mic night tonight at 7pm in partnership with @moabarts ! Art in Everyday Language is the theme, and local poets have been molding their pieces since their workshop with @sharizollinger this past week, and are ready to share it with you tonight.  Local poets who didn’t make it to the workshop are of course welcome to attend tonight at the bookstore and hop on that open mic, too! 

#backofbeyond #backofbeyondbooks #poetry #poetrycommunity #poetryreading #openmicnight #moabarts #eatreadsleeplocal